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Photos: MessageLabs antivirus operations

MessageLabs runs its email monitoring operation from anonymous-looking labs in Gloucester. ZDNet UK goes behind their yellow-brick facade to where 'Big Brother' keeps an eye on things
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1 of 6 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

MessageLabs' headquarters are housed in three yellow-brick buildings near Gloucester. The buildings can only be entered by using a swipe card. Visitors must be announced 24 hours beforehand and have to be accompanied by a member of staff at all times.

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2 of 6 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

The Network Operations Centre (NOC) monitors MessageLabs' customer infrastructure, and is the first line of defence in combating malicious code and spam. This part of the company scans all mail destined for a client, before deciding whether the mail is spam, contains malware or is safe.

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3 of 6 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

The system in NOC used to monitor customers' email infrastructure and traffic is called 'Big Brother'. The monitor on the wall shows traffic and threats to customer servers, and threats within customers' emails.

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4 of 6 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

MessageLabs scans 150 million emails per day. The UK antivirus operations are run by eight full-time staff, who monitor current security alerts. Also on the team are five anti-spam specialists and support technicians. Workload is spread between them, and also between offices in Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Gloucester and London.

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5 of 6 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

The antivirus team has short-term fire-fighting projects that are dealt with on the spot. Every day MessageLabs stop 12,000 items that are not stopped by the antivirus engines alone.

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6 of 6 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

MessageLabs claims to be the first vendor to recognise the 'I Love You' virus — and the first to call it 'The Lovebug'. The directors of the company gave this picture of a 'Lovebug' to the antivirus and anti-spam teams, in recognition of their hard work.

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